An 11-point deficit was within reach for the Vandals early in the fourth quarter of last Thursday’s game.
However, the Ohio offense had other plans and senior running back Daz’mond Patterson led the charge on a drive that lasted just over six minutes.
The first play was a handoff to Patterson — good for seven yards.
A quarterback draw up the middle and a three-yard pass to the left later, Patterson was at it again with a short, two-yard gain.
After a pass for a first down near midfield, Patterson took over.
A handoff up the middle appeared to be contained, but the shifty 5-foot-7, 177-pound back cut to his left and scampered 15 more yards.
“You win games when you have the lead and can run the football,” ESPN announcer Darius Walker said.
On the next play, Idaho’s defense appeared to snuff out a stretch run to the left, but Patterson kept his legs turning and moved a pile of players eight yards.
Then Patterson went up the middle for seven, which was quickly followed by an option play that sprung him for another 15.
A four-yard rush up the middle was followed by a one-yard touchdown run — Patterson wasn’t even touched.
Of the 11 plays on the drive, Patterson ran the ball eight times for 59 yards and capped off the drive with a touchdown, which crushed any chance of a Vandal comeback.
Ohio won the game 45-28.
Idaho coach Paul Petrino said it looked like his defense was a little fatigued during Ohio’s first drive of the fourth quarter.
“We can’t let that happen,” Petrino said of the long fourth quarter drive. “We were rotating some guys in and out, which was not good. We need to stop the run, that’s for sure.”
When it was all said and done, Ohio’s ground attack racked up 205 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns.
All while the Bobcat offensive line protected two Ohio quarterbacks — senior Derrius Vick and junior JD Sprague — allowing them to combine for 284 passing yards, three touchdown passes and were only sacked twice.
Petrino thought the battle in the trenches would play out differently against Ohio.
“I really felt that going into the game, that’s where we would take over and it didn’t happen,” Petrino said. “I didn’t think they would be able to handle us upfront the way that they did. I thought our d-line was going to be an advantage versus (Ohio’s) o-line and that was not the case.
“They just didn’t play good enough. You can analyze it anyway you want, the guy across from them just beat them.”
Despite the poor performance, Petrino did praise his senior defensive end Quinton Bradley, who finished with six tackles, two sacks and one forced fumble.
Petrino said this Saturday’s game against Southern California has the potential to be a big opportunity for Bradley to showcase his talents on a big stage.
“I think Quinton has a chance to play on Sundays, and this is the game people are going to want to see him play and see how he does against (USC),” Petrino said.
Bradley will have a tough test ahead of him as USC possesses arguably one of the best offensive lines in the country. Athlon Sports ranked the Trojans as the No. 9 best offensive line in a pre-season poll.
In the middle of the line is Max Tuerk, who Petrino called one of the best centers he’s ever watched on tape.
“Boy is he a football player,” Petrino said of Tuerk. “We had a kid at Louisville that was a first-round draft pick that plays for the Bills (Eric Wood) that I thought was the best I’ve been around. But this kid (Tuerk), he’s special.”
Bottom line, Petrino said, is the Vandals need to do a better job tackling.
“We missed too many tackles,” Petrino said of the defensive effort against Ohio. “If we can tackle these guys, then we should have a good chance to tackle anyone the rest of the year because (USC) has got some good skill players.
“So if we can go out this game and tackle really well, then I think that will give those players confidence for the rest of the year.”
Korbin McDonald can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @KorbinMcD_VN